Cauvery: Centre for permanent panel to assess ground situation

State opposes suggestion, seeks time to revert

Cauvery: Centre for permanent panel to assess ground situation

 Aimed at ending the dispute over sharing of the Cauvery river water, the Centre on Friday suggested constituting a permanent expert panel to assess the ground situation in river basin area to decide release of water from the upper riparian state to lower riparian states.

Union Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh, who chaired the Cauvery Supervisory Committee meeting, suggested forming a panel comprising technical experts including professors from premier institutions such as IITs to study the water situation during distress year and recommend the Government of India on release of quantum of water from the upper riparian state to lower riparian states.

Though only Puducherry agreed for the panel, Karnataka in principle opposed it and sought one month time to revert. Even Tamil Nadu and Kerala also sought time to give their consent as terms of reference of the proposed panel was very lengthy.

Karnataka, while questioning the need for another panel when a supervisory committee headed by Union Water Resources Ministry already exists, is learnt to have said that there is no need for forming another. However, Karnataka officials at the  meeting agreed to revert to the supervisory committee after holding detailed consultations.

In the meeting, which lasted over two hours, Karnataka said it has released 2,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court orders. Explaining the distress situation, Karnataka said total availability of water in the Cauvery basin is just 13 tmcft, which is required for drinking purpose till monsoon start. Of the total 6 lakh hectares of crop grown in the Cauvery basin, crops on nearly 2 lakh hectares withered due to shortage of water, Karnataka explained.

Replying to Tamil Nadu’s opposition to the Mekedatu project, Karnataka said it is purely a drinking water project and the neighbouring state will also  benefit from it.
Dismissing Tamil Nadu’s apprehension over the project, Karnataka said the project is in the initial stage and all the details will be submitted to the Supreme Court. The project will be implemented after taking permission from all authorities including the Centre, Karnataka said.

Karnataka Chief Secretary S C Khuntia, Principal Secretary, (Water Resources) Rakesh Singh, Tamil Nadu Cauvery Technical Cell Chairman Subramanian, PWD Secretary Prabhakaran and officials from Puducherry and Kerala attended the meeting.

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